12 December 2006 01:46 [Source: ICIS news]
Asahi Shimbun, Japan (online edition) ?xml:namespace>
High court rules against opting out of Juki Net
KANAZAWA--The Nagoya High Court's branch here on Monday overturned a lower court decision that ruled in favour of citizens who demanded their personal data be taken off a nationwide resident registry network.
The plaintiffs had contended the electronic system, called Juki Net, handles personal data without their consent, and thus infringes on their right to privacy.
57% of Japanese say Japan-S. Korea relations are not good
A record high 57.1% of Japanese said Japan and South Korea do not have good relations, according to a government survey.
And in a further sign the neighbours are not getting along, only 34.4% of those surveyed said relations were good, the lowest percentage since the government started taking such surveys in 1986.
Business & Industry
Seafood firms Maruha, Nichiro plan to merge in October 2007
Maruha Group Inc., Japan’s biggest seafood supplier, and rival Nichiro Corp. announced Monday they will merge in October 2007 to stave off intensifying competition in the global market and to cope with shrinking domestic demand.
Maruha Group, a holding company that includes Maruha Corp., and the third-ranked Nichiro made their decisions at their respective board meetings Monday.
Keidanren to propose 2% hike in consumption tax rate, corporate tax breaks
Nippon Keidanren (Japan Business Federation), the nation’s largest business group, will propose a higher consumption tax rate--and a drastic corporate tax cut--to create “a country of hope,” sources said Monday.
The group’s proposals, which also push constitutional revisions, patriotism and administrative restructuring, will be officially released on New Year’s Day.
Food prices prompt watch on inflation
Central government agencies have pledged to closely monitor any possible inflation after recent reports about food price increases.
At an international conference in Beijing, Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), said even though China’s consumer price index (CPI) now remains low and within an acceptable band, there is likelihood that inflation may “raise its head” at any time.
Lawyers: more abuse of court process
KUNSHAN, Jiangsu: China should be vigilant about the growing abuse of process in court cases both at home and abroad, and actively look for judicial counter-measures, experts said yesterday.
The abuse of process refers to one party in a civil case who, out of an illegal motive or purpose, makes use of the lawful right to bring a malicious case.
Business & Industry
WTO entry recasts economic landscape
Membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO) has dramatically altered the character of the Chinese economy; and the country is ready to play a bigger role in globalisation.
That is the assessment of Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai on the eve of the fifth anniversary of the nation’s accession to the WTO.
China November trade surplus hit $22.9bn
China’s trade surplus in November was slightly smaller than reported last week but still the second highest on record, according to data released Monday.
Figures from the General Administration of Customs showed a November surplus of $22.9bn, below the $23.4bn reported Thursday by the Xinhua News Agency. There was no immediate explanation for the $500m discrepancy.
Premier set to leave for Gambia tomorrow
Minister of Foreign Affairs James Huang said yesterday that Premier Su Tseng-chang is scheduled to visit Gambia 13-17 December to attend the 15 December inauguration of Gambian President Yahya Jammeh.
Huang made the remarks at a legislative committee when Legislator Lee Jih-chu of the opposition Kuomintang asked if it is in keeping with diplomatic protocol to send an envoy at such short notice.
Kuomintang officials offering to resign
Two senior officials of the opposition Kuomintang yesterday offered to resign to take responsibility for the party’s setback in the Kaohsiung mayoral election, but KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou said he will not consider their resignations before the party knows more about problems that might have led to its loss in the southern port city.
Speaking at a press conference in Taipei, Liao Feg-te, chairman of the KMT Organizational Development Committee, said he and Hsu Fu-min, chairman of the KMT Kaohsiung City Committee, had tendered their resignations to the party’s chairman and secretary-general to take responsibility for the KMT’s defeat in Kaohsiung.
Business & Industry
Taipower could be short of natural gas in 2007
Taiwan Power faces a possible shortage of imported natural gas next year to supply new generators at a power plant in northern Taiwan, which may force the plant to burn more expensive oil instead.
The state-run utility, which provides Taiwan with three-quarters of its electricity, may boost natural gas demand to 4.42m tonnes in 2007, from an estimated 3.9m this year, spokesman Lee Chuan-lai said on Friday in Taipei.
Local companies urged to develop global perspective
Taiwan Think Tank Chairman Chen Po-chih urged Taiwanese businessmen yesterday to aim high in the global market instead of limiting themselves to the pursuit of being number one in the China market.
Speaking at a seminar held by the Industrial Development Bureau under the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Chen disagreed with the analysis common among local media professionals that the major reason South Korea has outperformed Taiwan economically is because some of Taiwan’s industries are prohibited from investing in China.
Nuke talks to reopen 18 Dec
Six-party talks on North Korea’s nuclear program will reconvene next Monday 18 December in Beijing, host country China announced yesterday.
The six-way talks are reopening after a hiatus of over a year since the last round closed in November last year. Members of the negotiations will return to the conference hall of Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in the Chinese capital.
Investigators widen dragnet in spy case
The National Intelligence Service and prosecutors are investigating leading figures in a political party and civic groups in connection with Ilsimhoe (One Heart Society), a suspected North Korea-sponsored spy ring, a prosecution official said, on condition of anonymity.
The group, led by Chang Min-ho, a Korean-American businessman, attempted to influence the party and civic groups through the clandestine networks.
Business & Industry
Consumers tighten belts amid bleak job prospects
Consumers in all age brackets except those in their 60s further tightened their belts between the first and third quarter of the year compared to a year earlier, National Statistics Office data showed yesterday.
Although monthly disposable income during the period slightly increased, growth in consumer spending remained almost flat.
Trade remedies key to success of FTA talks: Seoul official
In the midst of tussling over trade rules, automobiles, and pharmaceuticals between South Korea and the United States in free trade accord negotiations, weighing which side is “stronger” should be avoided, a high-ranking Korean official said.
“This FTA negotiation is an unprecedented one, and it is a very important one,” Lee Hye-min, director general for the Korea-US FTA at the Trade Ministry, said in an interview with The Korea Herald.
CSN goes for the kill on Corus
In a day of dramatic developments, Brazil’s Companhia Siderurgica Nacional today launched a $9.6bn bid for Anglo-Dutch steel company Corus just hours after Tata Steel raised its offer to $9.1bn.
Tata Steel had increased its offer to 500 pence a share early today in a pre-emptive strike against CSN, which had said it was working on a 475 pence-a-share bid.
Bloodbath on Dalal Street
The bear hug tightened on Monday as key stock indices slumped to their biggest single-day fall in six months, triggered by Friday’s unexpected cash reserve ratio hike announced by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
The Bombay Stock Exchange’s benchmark 30-share sensitive index, Sensex, plunged by 537.76 points, or 3.89%, mid-way through the session, before partially recovering to end at 13,399.43, down 400.06 points, or 2.90%, from Friday’s close.
Economy & Policy
Rites buys major stake in Tanzanian rail corp
Consultancy firm to the railway ministry Rites has acquired as part of a consortium a majority stake in Tanzania Railway Corporation, which manages the railway network in that country.
The move is likely to come as a shot in the arm for Rites, which has been participating in infrastructure projects in Africa since the 1970s. It comes after Rites successfully bid for a majority stake in Mozambique Railways in December 2004.
Tax on mobile phones sets govt cash registers ringing
If you buy a mobile phone worth rupee (Rs) 4,000 ($89.65) today, you will be paying about 123% of the cost of the mobile (which works out to Rs4,942) as tax to the government over the next four years.
At a macro level, the nearly 65m handsets that have been sold this year will generate the government a revenue of about Rs321bn in the next four years.
Sentosa IR will be top tourism earner: Genting
Resorts World at Sentosa will be Singapore’s single biggest tourism earner, raking in S$15bn ($9.7bn) by 2015, developer Genting International’s chairman Lim Kok Thay said yesterday.
Giving his take on why Genting and sister company Star Cruises won the Sentosa integrated resort (IR) project, Mr Lim said Resorts World alone will account for half of the S$30bn tourism revenue target set by the Singapore Tourism Board by 2015.
Salaries, turnover are up as S’pore labour market picks up steam
(SINGAPORE) The buzz is back. A robust economy has meant not just higher pay all round this year but increased churn and staff turnover, especially in the top ranks.
According to Mercer Human Resources Consulting’s latest Total Remuneration Survey (TRS) for Singapore, staff turnover has been climbing in the past few years, from about 5% in 2003 to 7.2% in 2005.
Business & Industry
Dollar slide redefines US trade partners’ competitiveness
(SINGAPORE) The weakening American dollar is starting to redefine the competitiveness of US trading partners, including Singapore.
A realignment in wage costs - a key determinant of where foreign direct investment flows to - is still taking shape as the effects of the greenback’s recent tumble work their way through the international economy.
Local entrepreneurs gain insights from Tokyo visit
Entrepreneurs from Singapore’s food and fashion industries met Japanese restaurant managers and retailers during a recent trip to Tokyo, getting insights into that notoriously tough market and occasionally hearing from the horse’s mouth why their products would not work.
The meetings formed part of the schedule for a delegation of Singapore musicians and businessmen in Tokyo for Singapore Spotlight, an arts event held last week that fronted the visit.
King approves charter appointments
His Majesty the King has signed a royal command appointing 1,982 members of the National People’s Assembly (NPA), the Speaker of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) Meechai Ruchuphan said on Monday.
Mr Meechai said the next step is to call for NPA members to register with the Secretariat Office of NLA. The process is expected to take one week to complete.
Malay PM says Surayud on right track in South
Kuala Lumpur -- The Thai government is making the right policy changes in the three southernmost provinces, but it will take time for people to embrace these changes and accept interim Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont, said Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
‘‘I think the policy of the current prime minister is more diplomatic,’’ he said in an interview with the Bangkok Post on the current border situation.
Business & Industry
New Thai plant to make Toyota No. 1
Looking at the year ahead, there’s no stopping Toyota. A new plant in Thailand will make that possible.
Analysts say 2007 could be the year the Japanese manufacturer surpasses General Motors Corp as the world’s no. 1 automaker in vehicle sales.
State firms doing poor job of keeping books
The two state telecom enterprises are doing a poor job of keeping track of the massive sums they earn from private-sector concessionaires and need to shape up, according to the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) minister.
The existing system relied heavily on trust and lacked proper checks, Sitthichai Pokaiudom said in an interview last week.
By Staff Reporter
For the latest chemical news, data and analysis that directly impacts your business sign up for a free trial to ICIS news - the breaking online news service for the global chemical industry.
Get the facts and analysis behind the headlines from our market leading weekly magazine: sign up to a free trial to ICIS Chemical Business.
|ICIS news FREE TRIAL|
|Get access to breaking chemical news as it happens.|
|ICIS Global Petrochemical Index (IPEX)|
|ICIS Global Petrochemical Index (IPEX). Download the free tabular data and a chart of the historical index|
Asian Chemical Connections